“It’s our goal to show children that math and science is fun and to encourage them to pursue careers in a STEM related field,” Ronnebaum said.
There are local teams competing from Northmont, Centerville, Xenia, Springboro, Tri-County North, Miami Valley School and St. Christopher Elementary, as well as a homeschool team and other mixed-community teams.
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Teams advanced through 30 regional tournaments and six district qualifying tournaments to reach the state championship. Seven teams this weekend will earn bids to a variety of post-season tournaments in Detroit, Myrtle Beach, Arkansas and the International Invitational in Japan.
The fourth- and fifth-grade robotics team from Xenia’s McKinley Elementary, named “X Marks the Bot,” will compete this weekend. For their “city shaper” work, they focused on a desire for inclusive parks and a community center in Xenia, working with a local architect to create blueprints of their plans.
Team coach Tim Carey, who is also a third grade math teacher at McKinley, said the team has worked hard this year, competing against students as old as ninth grade.
“Not only did our students give a strong presentation during judging (at districts), but they performed well on the table competition, scoring only 45 points behind last year’s state champions,” Carey said.
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The FIRST organization (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), was founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire students’ interest and participation in science and technology.